I wasn’t going to do another post this week, but then something happened yesterday which I thought was a perfect example of Aspie life.
Yesterday I had to go to hospital, nothing urgent, just some tests. Now it’s only because these tests are for cancer that I went (don’t panic, it’s not likely but needed ruling out). I hate hospitals with an absolute passion, mainly as I have a severe full blown phobia of vomit. So seeing people being sick or catching a bug myself sends my anxiety through the roof, to the point where I was close to being hospitalised as a teenager as I weighed 5 stone due to being too scared to eat in case I was sick (they thought I was anorexic until I pointed out anorexics ‘safe foods’ wouldn’t be chips and crisps…!) Anyway… other than that hospitals are a nightmare for sensory overload. Unfamiliar places, smells are strong, waiting about in crowded waiting rooms and no WiFi to keep me occupied, echoey corridors, bright lights, lots of noise and hustle and bustle. In short every Aspies worst bloody nightmare.
So I went, dragging my mum along with me. Mum gets dragged along to many places as going anywhere unfamiliar is only possible having someone with me. I’m not sure why, it just gives me a fall back sense of security having someone with me if something goes wrong. So for example I would go into full blown panic and go straight home and miss an appointment if I can’t park in the car park as I’d ‘freeze’ and flee. So we spent 25 minutes driving around the car parks trying to find somewhere to park, anxiety at the paying machine (there’s two next to each other? Which do I use? Are they both working or is one replacing the other? How much do I need? Right money? Does it accept new coins? Panic). Then the stress of finding the right reception desk to come to. Give receptionist my letter (it’s easier than trying to figure out in my head what to say! Do I say my name or what I’m there for first? Please don’t ask me a question… oh god she did. My name? It’s on the chuffing letter, why do you need that again? Date of birth? Oh, do I say the fifth or May for the month? Do I say 1977, or 77?)
The receptionist books me in, hands me an envelope and then tells me to ‘follow the yellow line to the end and pop it in the basket’. Ok, I can do that! Relief. Until I get to the end of the line. A few yards ahead of the line is another reception desk. On it is a metal letter holder thing that says ‘put your ultrasound cards in here’. Except it’s not *right* at the end of the yellow line. At the end of the line is just a space. There isn’t a basket! The metal thing is more like a letter cage you get attached to letterboxes…. it’s not a basket! I don’t have a card. It’s an envelope (which to be fair probably has a card inside it but I didn’t see what she put in it!) so I freeze. Do I put the envelope in this cage thing and hope I’m not doing the wrong thing? Am I missing a basket from the end of the line? Maybe they’re emptying it and I need to wait? Try to think, am I even having an ultrasound or MRI? Erm… mum takes the envelope and puts it in the cage thing saying that’s ‘obviously’ it. I hope she’s right as it wasn’t obvious to me at all. Generally people with autism take things literally, and I guess that’s one example. I never would’ve realised that before my diagnosis. Mum would’ve been annoyed at my ‘dillydallying’, and I would’ve felt stupid. At least now I know I’m not stupid and can analyse these things afterwards.
I then go in for my scan. The room is dark and it’s just me and the radiographer. I expected a female due to where I’m being scanned so am thrown a bit (not that I’m bothered about what sex they are as long as they do their job, but I have an image in my head of what it will be like before I get there and it’s now different to that which puts me on edge). I’m unsure if I’m meant to get in one of those horrific gowns or not. Luckily the radiographer is great. He tells me to lay down on the couch thing, lift my top to ‘there’ points to his chest (great! Specific instructions! Love it!) and tells me exactly what’s going to happen next. Relief. Or there would be if the light that’s shining on me wasn’t burning my retinas and giving me weird dots in my eyes.
Then panic as he starts scanning my stomach and kidneys. I panic. I freeze. The machine bleeps as he clicks and scans. Er… my ovaries aren’t there! What’s he doing!!? I have to say something but don’t want to look a fool. Has he got someone else’s notes? I’m pretty certain I know where my ovaries are but what if I’ve got to 41 years old and been wrong all this time? I say I thought it was going to be on my ovaries? He then states they’re doing a full MOT on me and scanning all my vital organs. Oooh. Panic over (kinda). Just want to get out of here. He then says, now, turn to your left. I move my head. He waits. Ooooh he meant move my body too. Didn’t get that. You see if you infer something I will miss it. I can find an innuendo out of nowhere, but nuance = no chance. Be explicit (ooer! 😂). Give detail. Make it obvious!
So there you go, aspies take things literally! So don’t ever tell us to put our coat in the loo. Unless you want a blocked loo! X